“Temi, I am sorry. It was a mistake”
“Mistake you say?”
“Yes, I – I really didn’t think it will come to this..”
“Oooh,” she turned in her chair to his kneeling body, “you didn’t think it will come to this. So, if this hadn’t happened, you won’t be sorry, abi?”
“That’s not what I am saying..” he could see her chest galloping behind her blue printed night shirt, beads of sweat trickling down her forehead, eyes reddened from all the tears she had cried.
“Precious of all women Tunde? 18 year old Precious, a girl I nurtured – a girl,” she paused to wave a finger between them “we nurtured..”.
“I am sorry…”
“As soon as Olivia got admission into that boarding school, I told you we didn’t need a maid any longer, Tunde I told you! but you used the busy nature of my job to convince me that we needed someone around the house, whereas, it was all so you could conveniently execute your plan”
“It was not a plan Temi, I didn’t…”
“Tunde? I hate you!” With that, she sprung to her feet, stomped angrily past him and into their shared bedroom.
She flung herself to the bed, buried her head in a pillow and wailed into its hollow space, grief stricken by the misfortune that had befallen her home.
She thought she had seen the last of Precious. That hot Thursday afternoon she sent her packing, she believed would be the last she would hear of the girl; the last of catching her throw flirty tender glances Tunde’s way, the last of having Tunde take her side when she was disagreeing vehemently over something the girl had done, the last of having several unnecessary arguments with her husband, all because of Precious – he always made excuses for her, though not in her presence, it still hurt the same. He was supposed to take her side as his wife, but he didn’t, instead, he thought, always thought that the young adult was doing enough.
Days rolled by and Precious began to disobey her. The girl who was once obedient and eager to please, developed an almost nonchalant attitude regarding her duties and towards her, her boss.
She became excessively comfortable around the house; laughing freely, and dressing without caution.
Once, she walked in on them watching TV and dared to invite herself to a moment that was meant to be shared only between herself and her husband. Temitola knew then that she had to do something.
She wasn’t going to wait until she caught Precious and Tunde in a compromising position, god forbid! Her suspicions had risen to a point of action and as she dwelled on those thoughts that Thursday at work, she made the abrupt decision to do away with her, once and for all. It was on that premise that she dashed home, called the girl into the sitting room, and shoved a brown envelope containing thirty thousand naira in her palm, as opposed to the twenty thousand naira that was her monthly wages,
“Go inside, pack your things and leave my house!” she had ordered her.
“Ah ma, what did I do?” replied the flabbergasted girl.
Temitola breathed heavily on her feet, consumed by the rage of her suspicions, “Don’t you dare ask me any stupid questions!” she spat, then shot a finger towards the door, “Go in there, pack your things, and leave my house this very minute!”.
It dawned on Precious that her madam was serious and her time at Tunde’s – her first love was over.
With tears in her eyes and no Tunde in sight to come to her rescue, she turned around to begin obeying her madam’s orders
“Come here!” Temitola snapped, stopping her in her tracks, “give me that phone” she called forth with a quick motion of her fingers.
“But ma,” the girl hesitated “it was uncle that bought this phone for me…”
“And the more reason why I would collect it, common give me that phone!” she took two long strides and snatched the Nokia device from the girl’s hands, “Oya, go and pack your things, hurry up!” she snapped her fingers.
The girl let a tear fall down to her cheek, and then another before turning around and slowly strolling towards her room.
“This girl thinks I’m joking” Temitola remarked to herself. She breezed past the girl, into her room, flipped open a bag and began to hastily throw her clothes into the bag. As she flung them, Precious tearfully picked those that fell to the ground, into the open bag.
“Oya” Temitola commanded upon completion, “zip it up and comman be going”
The girl obeyed, slowly as if buying time for Tunde to walk in on them. But Temitola was not having any of her gimmicks, she resentfully nudged the girl onwards, out of the house and into her car.
She drove the young adult to a commercial park, bought a ticket that would take her back to Jos, waited for the vehicle to get filled up, with Precious sitting at the back seat of the bus.
Temitola befriended an elderly passenger in the bus, entrusted the girl to her care then stood aside and watched satisfyingly as the bus drove away.
All that now seemed like defeated efforts as she cried into her pillow, completely heart broken by the news her husband delivered on his knees.
Tunde had indeed slept with Precious (for God knows how many times)
And now she was carrying his baby.
“Hei!” Dorcas snapped her fingers over her head, “I can’t believe you are just telling me this”.
Temitola said nothing. She was reclined in the sofa, arms crossed over her chest, with lips curled downwards in deep sadness.
“These men will not kill us.” continued Dorcas, “Look at you” she regarded her friend with her hand, “fair, beautiful and successful, yet Tunde had eyes for Precious, that small insignificant thing! These men are truly never satisfied” she stressed, shaking her head.
“Of all the women in Lagos, it is my maid that Tunde choose to humiliate me with” tears welled up in her eyes, “what have I done Dorcas?”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe if I had met his sexual demands and not allowed work to be such a priority…”
“Ehn? Temi, don’t you dare do that to yourself, don’t! You cannot blame yourself for the selfish actions of Tunde. Listen, Mark, my husband? he has a girlfriend in V.I, commited girlfriend. He thinks I don’t know but I have my sources. He pays for this insignificant girl’s rent, he even bought her a Venza, just last two months. Do you think it is because I refused him sex, or I have stopped giving into his animalistic requests?”
“At least your own is not a house help” she sniffed.
“What difference does it make? They are all below us?” she shrugged scornfully, “small insignificant girls.” Listen, let me tell you, you can’t satisfy these men, they are all insatiable so don’t you dare take any proportion of blame on yourself. Right now the plan should be how to get that girl to abort that bastard she is carrying”
Temitola scoffed, “She has refused to, in fact her family is now involved. They are on Tunde’s neck to take responsibility. I guess that was the only reason he came clean in the first place” she finished in a murmur.
“Hmmmn.” Dorcas sighed. She cocked her head to the side and darted her eyes thoughtfully.
“What?” Temitola enquired of her.
“How old is this pregnancy?”
“Can you lure her to Lagos?”
“I don’t know, why?”
She shifted in her seat and leaned forward on her knees, “If you can get her to Lagos, to this house, I will handle the rest”
“What will you do?” her voice was mixed with curiosity and apprehension.
“Don’t worry about the details. By the time I am done with her, that baby would no longer be a growing concern” she concluded satisfyingly, then relaxed back into the sofa.
“But I don’t want to harm her..”
Dorcas scrunched her face, “Has she not harmed you? When she was opening her legs for your husband right under your roof, what was she thinking? You think she didn’t plan all these?”
“She’s only 18…”
“Temi focus!” Dorcas exclaimed, slapping her hands together, “That girl wants to take over your home and if you don’t do anything about it, she will become the new Mrs Tunde Fatogun and you will become the laughing stock among Lekki wives. Is that what you want?”
“Of course not!”
“Then focus. All I need you to do is find a way to maneuver that insignificant girl, back to Lagos, here to my house, and let me handle the rest.”
Temitola’s ringtone interrupted the moment. She reached for the table and picked up the Apple device.
“Who is it?” Dorcas enquired.
She rolled her eyes, “It’s Tunde” and made to drop the phone back on the table before her.
“You’ve been here for three days and you haven’t spoken to him once. Answer it”
“I really don’t want to hear anything he has to say”
The phone resumed ringing.
“Answer it Temi” Dorcas persuaded.
Reluctantly, she dragged the slider to the right and placed the cell phone to her ear, “What?”
“Something happened, please come home” Tunde said at the other end of the phone.
“Something happened, worse than what has already happened?” she mocked.
“Ofcouse…” she rolled her eyes unconcerned.
“I pushed her Temi..” Temitola bolted up right, startling Dorcas. Both women exchanged horrified glances and Dorcas gestured her hands questionably at a jaw dropped Temitola. “You need to come here right now,” Tunde tearfully went on, “please” .
“O-okay,” she stuttered, trying to think logically, “just, don’t do anything..”
“I am so sorry Temi”
“Stay put” she staggered to her feet, “I-I’m on my way” then ended the call. “I have to go” she said to a gawking Dorcas.
“I don’t know, I just have to go” she answered hurriedly. Slipping her legs into her slippers, she dashed into the guest room with Dorcas on her heels. She grabbed her handbag, snatched her car keys from the dressing mirror and looked around searchingly for any other thing she may need.
“What did he say?” Dorcas was impatient, as was Temitola.
“I don’t know, he just said he can’t breathe or something ..”
Dorcas suddenly relaxed. She leaned against the door way, “He can’t breathe but he called you” she remarked doubtfully. “I can’t believe you’re still trying to cover up for him, after all he’s done to you”
“I am not covering up anything” an agitated Temitola said, “I’ll call you,”. She swiftly embraced Dorcas, “bye” and wheezed out of the house.
“Tunde!!” Temitola yelled as she barged into their home.
She stopped in her tracks, almost choking on her spit at the sight of a motionless Precious, laying in a pool of her own blood, at the feet of a numb looking Tunde, sitting at the foot of the stairs.
She let her bag drop to the floor and rushed towards the body, then stopped and sent her hands over her head instead, “What have you done?!” she cried.
“I couldn’t let her come in between us Temi,” he calmly challenged, tears streaking down his eyes.
Temitola frantically lowered herself over the body. She put an ear down to the young adult’s chest..
“I called her here and tried to persuade her to terminate the pregnancy, I begged her Temi but she was bent on destroying us..”
“There’s a heartbeat!” Temitola announced, half laughing, relief lacing her voice, “Help me !” she said to her now confused looking husband, “Tunde get up!”
He scrambled to his feet.
“Get her shoulders” she directed, but Tunde lifted the eighteen year old, drooped her over his shoulders and hurried out of the house, after his wife.
“My car, my car!” went Temitola.
He hastened to the car as Temitola held its back door open. He laid the girl on the back seat, shut the door and went around to the front seat while Temitola got into the driver’s seat, started the car and reversed speedily out of the house.
“Baby…” Tunde started to say after a few minutes.
A fidgety Temitola held up a hand, shutting him up, “Not now Tunde”
Swallowing hard, he reclined in his seat and returned his gaze to watch the road, along with his nervously sweating wife.
They drove into the premises of Ibeju Lekki General hospital, alighted from the car with Tunde rushing to the back seat. He scooped the Precious into his arms and they rushed towards the ER.
Nurses met them at the door way with a wheel chair, “What happened?”
“She fell, she fell” Tunde recounted. They placed her in the wheel chair and the nurses disappeared into the ward with her, leaving Tunde and Temi in anxious silence.
Both paced the floor of the somewhat busy waiting room, each consumed in their own thoughts.
Temitola made sure to keep to her lane, determined not to allow Tunde come close. But he tried to, and every time, he was deterred by a shot of her warning glare. Eventually, he gave in and let her be.
The clock ticked away on the wall unbothered. Seconds to minutes. Minutes to an hour, then two hours, three hours…
“Doctor!” Temitola called, as a doctor emerged from the ward Precious had been wheeled into. Tunde whisked to her side and they both looked up to the doctor questionably. “How is she?” Temitola cooed.
“She is fine” he declared, to which Temitola heaved in relief, and Tunde squeezed his eyes shut, obviously relieved too, “but, she lost the baby”
More relief spread across Tunde’s face.
“What?” Temitola asked, taken unawares.
“The baby didn’t make it” the doctor repeated, “Did you say she fell? I would ask her these questions but she’s asleep”
“Yes yes” Tunde spoke, “she slipped on the watery stairs, and before I could do anything, she was already on the ground”
“I see.” The doctor remarked thoughtfully, darting glances between the husband and wife. “Well, she’s alive. I’m sorry for the loss of the baby”
“Thank you doctor”
With that, the doctor turned around and walked away.
As soon as he was out of sight, Temitola charged towards the exit door of the ER. Tunde went after her, catching her just as she approached her car.
“Don’t touch me!” she snapped, yanking her hand out of his.
“Temi, this is supposed to make you happy”
She stopped walking and whirled around to face him, “Happy? Happy you say? Tunde, what would have made me happy would have been your faithfulness. Me in your bed, me alone! not Precious, not any other woman, that is what would have made me happy and not you taking the life of that innocent baby!” she rounded off in a whisper.
“It wasn’t intentional”
“Oh please! When you thought of pushing her down those steep stairs, what did you think would happen?” she lifted both hands up to her face, “But you know what? Just go in there, pay the bills, call her parents, or probably even face the police, I don’t care, just leave me out of it”
She dropped her hands, turned around and began unlocking the door of her car.
“I am so sorry” Tunde said, to which she pulled open the door, stepped into the vehicle and banged the door shut with a loud thud.
All he heard afterwards was the sound of the car’s engine, spluttering angrily to life.
WRITTEN BY: Kylie Joy Terundu.